Faulkner's Southern belle - myth or reality?


  • Nataša Intihar Klančar




American literature, Southern literature, Southern belle, American novel


The article deals with heroines of William Faulkner's novels Light in August, Absalom, Absalom!, The Sound and the Fury, The Unvanquished, The Town and his short story "A Rose for Emily". The Southern belle features as a recurring character in Faulkner's fiction, her fragility, modesty, weakness yet strength, beauty, sincerity, generous nature, status and her fall from innocence comprise her central characteristics. Confronted with various expectations of Southern society and with the hardships of war, the belle is faced with many obstacles and challenges. Faulkner's heroines face a wide array of problems that prevent them from being and/or remaining a Southern belle. Let us name a few: Lena's inappropriate social status, Joanna's wrong roots, Mrs. Hightower's inability to fulfill her duties as the minister's wife, Ellen's miserable marriage, Judith's sad love life, Rosa's feelings of inferiority and humiliation, Mrs. Compson's failure as a mother, Caddy's weak rebellion against male convention, Drusilla's male characteristics, Linda's unrequited love and Emily's dark secret, to name a few. Through these characters and their destinies Faulkner shows a decaying South whose position has changed considerably over the years. Can the Southern belle save it? Can she save herself?


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How to Cite

Intihar Klančar, N. (2011). Faulkner’s Southern belle - myth or reality?. Acta Neophilologica, 44(1-2), 47–57. https://doi.org/10.4312/an.44.1-2.47-57